GARDENING / Feeling Rosie – A Beginners Guide to Planting Roses

In the Secret Garden, by Frances Hodgson Burnett, the character of Dicken (who I always had a bit of a crush on) states, when telling the protagonist Mary about the plants growing in the garden ‘this place will be so full of roses here in summer, you’ll be sick of them’. Even at the tender age of nine I thought this was strange, how could one ever be sick of roses!? I know I never could, my family garden being the ultimate proof; it is full of them!


You may think me mad, but I believe that roses are individuals, they have names, and personalities, and for some reason I see some as male and some as female. ‘Glorie de Dijon’ is a really handsome, put together chap, the definition of a gentleman and very easy going. ‘Just Joey’ is only a young boy, vibrant, full of youthful energy and the glow of beauty, although perhaps lacking a little refinement. ‘Gertrude Jekyll’, is a lady, one of those women who is perhaps past her youth, but still utterly graceful and the epitome of sophisticated beauty.

Planting roses is simple, and in honesty I tend to leave mine to do their own thing. As yet this tactic has never faild me and they burst into bloom in early June every year. However if you want to make double sure that your new David Austin gets the best start possible, here are a few things to be mindful of.


Choosing your Site

  • Roses love the sun, so try and find a place in your garden that gets sunshine for at least 50% of the day.
  • An important thing to remember, which I’ve forgotten in the past is, that if you are replacing old roses with new roses remove as much of the old soil as possible and replace with soil that hasn’t grown roses before (the old soil will grow anything else apart from roses, strange bug true).
  • Roses are known in the plant world for having a large root bas that stays relatively close to the surface. You will need to make sure your hole is large enough that you don’t cramp them. Look at how close your plants either side as well, and be carful when hoeing.
  • To give your rose a good start, place a little enriched soil (a nicer way of saying manure) at the bottom of your hole, which acts as it’s first meal if you like. You can also fill back the hole with the same.
  • Water well.
  • Feed and mulch in spring. They’re about to burst into bloom, do they need as much energy and nutrients as they can get, this just gives them that little helping hand.


Planting your Rose

Planting roses really can be as simple as digging a hole and sticking it in…but there are other things you can do to help it along.

  • Soak the root in a bucket of water overnight. This makes sure your plant is well hydrated.
  • Dig a hole at least as deep and wide as a spade head, and don’t allow the width to decrease as you dig down.
  • Make sure the soil at the base of the hole isn’t too firmly packed together, or the roots can struggle to brake through. I tend to just use my fingers, but you can brake it up with fork, and remember that bit of fertiliser.
  • Make sure your rose is sitting straight in the soil.
  • The top of a roses root, before it turns to stem is call the ‘union’, just make sure it is below the surface of the soil. If in doubt digging the hole a little deeper won’t hurt.
  • Once you have filled your hole, firm down the soil, (again I used the heal of my hand) making sure all the important parts of your rose are beneath the surface.
  • Now water it in, which essentially means give it a very large drink, and put some ‘enriched soil!’ on the surface around the base of the rose.

It’s as easy as that!

I hope your summer is full of roses and beauty.


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